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Windshield Mounting of GPS Legalized in California (But There's a Catch)

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Over the weekend, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill 1567, the GPS Windshield Safety Act, which permits the mounting of portable GPS units in specific areas of vehicle windshields. Windshield mounting was previously illegal in California, and those who ignored the law were sometimes ticketed and fined $108 for "obstructed windshield" violations. California drivers take note: the new law does not take effect until January 1, 2009.

Kudos to the state legislature and the governor for lifting this ban and "decriminalizing" GPS. I've always contended that driving is safer with GPS.

The new law, however, has an odd clause that specifies the GPS must be mounted within "a 7-inch square area in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver (the passenger side) or in a 5-inch square area in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver (the lower left corner of the windshield)." That means the most common and useful front-and-center GPS windshield mount is still banned.

Also, many standard GPS power cords are not long enough to reach from a power port, all the way to the lower corners of a windshield (not to mention the increased wire clutter created by these corner mounting locations). Also, the passenger side mount is useless to the driver, and the lower left corner mount forces the driver to take eyes off the highway in an awkward way. I guess drivers can only hope that the police will ignore proper center mounts, or issue warnings, rather than tickets.

California was one of only two states (the other is New Jersey) banning windshield GPS mounting.

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